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Turn Left at the Sleeping Dog: Scripting the Santa Fe Legend, 1920-1955

John La Farge

Anglos have been coming to Santa Fe for centuries, and early in the last century the city's beauty and exotic cultural mix became particularly attractive to artistic immigrants looking for freedom from the greed and competitiveness of mainstream American culture. By the late twentieth century, many New Mexicans felt, Santa Fe's unique charm was nearly overwhelmed by the evils that people had moved there to escape. The interviews collected in this book preserve the old Santa Fe, the one people are still looking for. The interviewees represent a cross-section of Santa Fe during the best of times: native Santa Feans, both Spanish American and Anglo, artists, immigrants, those who came by accident, those who came intending to stay, those who fought to preserve the older cultures' traditions and values. The author, unlike most journalists, has known the people he interviewed his entire life. Most of these men and women were old timers when the interviews took place, and many have since died. Most readers of this book will not remember the good times it evokes. But the lively stories told here will enthrall all Santa Feans and would-be Santa Feans, as well as visitors who can only dream of living in the City Different.

Interviewed in Turn Left at the Sleeping Dog are Amalia Sena Sánchez, Consuelo Bergere Mendenhall, Fray AngĂ©lico Chávez, Katherine "Peach" Mayer, Anita González Thomas, Josephine E. Baca, Chuck Barrows, Hazel Frederickson, Alice Henderson Rossin, Calla Hay, Letitia Evans Frank, Paul Frank, Tom and Doris Dozier, Samuel Adelo, Richard Bradford, J. I. Staley, Miranda Levy, Jerry West, Margaret Larsson, and Carol Smith. Interlaced with the interviews are comments from other Santa Feans: historian Myra Ellen Jenkins, cultural geographer J. B. Jackson, and anthropologist Oliver La Farge, the author's father.


John Pen La Farge, a native of Santa Fe, is a freelance writer and historian who specializes in intellectual history.


"An oral history recounted by 23 of Santa Fe's most colorful characters tells the story of a city that in some ways has changed beyond recognition in half a century, but in other ways is still the same old town. . . . Some of the best recollections come from author Richard Bradford. The title of the book is taken from the street directions he gave to his house."


Santa Fe New Mexican

" Turn Left at the Sleeping Dog makes an undeniable contribution to the history of Santa Fe. . . This is history at its best: multidimensional, complex and always entertaining."


Southwest BookViews

". . . La Farge has done all New Mexicans a great service by highlighting a formative sequence in Santa Fe's long, unique evolution."


Crosswinds Weekly, Albuquerque

"La Farge, son of writer Oliver La Farge, here presents oral histories from a wide variety of Santa Fe residents, Anglos, Hispanics, Indians, artists, politicians, historians, and others whom he has known his entire life. These Santa Feans tell us in their own words about what it was like in 'the good old days,' evoking with their fascinating stories their hometown's unique charm and culture and giving us a real taste of the city's community in the early 20th century."


Library Journal

6.125 x 9.25 in. 408 pages 39 halftones